Teen starts summer camp for Orange County kids in need

For a second year, 17-year-old Madeline Salvatierra has created a free five-day summer camp at the Orange County Rescue Mission to help young children explore careers of the future.

"Extra curricular activities really help you find your passion and then inspire you to pursue a career," says Salvatierra. "But a lot of kids, especially at Orange County Rescue Mission, don't typically get those opportunities."

That's why Madeline has designed the entire curriculum, focused on activities and fun exercises that might spark interest in certain job fields, and she's been encouraged by the kids' enthusiastic response.

"Today, the kids made tin foil boats and learned about engineering," says the Foothill High School senior. "They made little microwavable cakes in cups and learned about food chemistry."

Salvatierra started this program as part of a Girl Scouts project, but it has now grown into so much more. During each day of camp there are two guest speakers, including nurses, scientists, artists and others. Several teens volunteering with the Assistance League of Tustin also help out with the camp.

"I was working with our kindergarten and first graders, and the only careers they could think of in the beginning were firefighters, policemen, teachers and doctors," says Madeline. "But by the end of the week, they're likely going to be coming up with a lot more diverse and advanced careers. They receive a list of all the careers they might love based on their favorite activities."

Now, Salvatierra is hoping to turn this local summer camp into a national after school program that can help children across the country.
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